Supervisory training—did you get yours?

I’m multi-tasking, creating PDFs while listening (via ear buds) to a webinar on making the transition to new manager. Here’s what I’m picking up in my right ear:

A major reason—actually a remarkable percentage (according to surveys)—why employees leave firms is because of the relationship they have with their direct manager.

Apparently there are a lot of bad managers out there.

Was I one of them?

So far in my career, I’ve had two jobs in which I was asked to manage/supervise other staff.

Of those two jobs, I was offered manager/supervisor training by . . . exactly none of them. Not one firm said, “We want you to manage/supervise other staff, and we want to give you some training to help you be a successful manager/supervisor.”

I don’t know why my manager, at that first job, didn’t offer me any supervisor training. She saw my resume. My resume did not indicate any supervisory experience. In my interview with her, I did not tell her I had supervisory experience. I didn’t give her any indication that I could manage staff; why would I? If I said that, it would have been lying. So why did she think I could manage other admin staff? I really don’t know. But I have to tell you, I wish someone would have said, even slightly suggested, in a backhanded comment or not, that I could use some supervisory experience before I started managing other staff. Or even if the training was in conjunction with. I would have gladly taken that. Maybe she foresaw that the project was going to end soon and thought the cost to send me to supervisor training wasn’t worth the investment. Who knows?

I really wish I had some supervisory training before that second job.

That second job was quite a change from the first. I interviewed with this guy who hired me, and it wasn’t obvious to me from the start that the number of staff I would be managing/supervising would grow. And grow big. So I’m supervising a lot more admin staff than I ever had.

And OMG . . . no one told me that I would have to listen to them complaining about each other. No one told me that I would have to find an office with a door (versus using my cubicle) to have confidential HR-type meetings with some of those administrators. No one told me there were tips and tricks to dealing with certain types of personalities. No one told me that some people would go to great lengths to try to damage another’s person well-being or position on the job.

If I had supervisory/manager training, I’m sure I would have at least learned how to deal with HR-type issues among staff.

Instead, I felt like I was winging it. I felt like there wasn’t another person in-house that I could share my frustrations with. I knew it was tempting to let loose on someone else, but I wasn’t comfortable talking about what I was going through (including my supervisory short-comings) with anyone else that was close to the firm or the project. I needed someone that was far-removed from the situation, who could lend an objective ear and shoulder, and who could offer suggestions and advice for dealing with a group of administrators who just didn’t gel together as a team; who seemed to form cliques; and from my standpoint, helped create an atmosphere of dysfunction. (I’m not blaming them; I take full responsibility in not being able to be an effective manager during that timeframe.)

All I’m saying is, be sure the person you want to manage/supervise others has the skills to do so. Get them the training they need, preferably before they start managing other people. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming one of those firms in which employees leave because of bad managers.

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